The new-for-2019 Volvo XC40 isn’t just a miniaturized version of its stablemates, the XC60 and XC90. This fun-to-drive luxury subcompact SUV brings to the crowded class its own unique flair, distinctive design and plenty else to boast about.
There is so much packed into this small SUV — full-size technology, fresh design and standard safety features — but that’s no wonder considering its spacious interior. Its pricing and gas mileage are competitive with the more established vehicles in its class, such as the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Mercedes Benz GLA-Class, but it outdoes them all in practicality.
For a full look at the intricacies of the 2019 Volvo XC40, check out Cars.com reviewer Fred Meier’s comprehensive review via the link above. And for the abbreviated version, read on for six things we like, plus three we don’t, about the 2019 Volvo XC40:
Things We Like
1. Easy on the Eyes
The XC40 is all SUV. “Pinched-waist” sculpting, a wider rear body, a large, upswept back pillar and an upright profile distinguish it from its competitors, which look more like dressed-up hatchbacks. It bears a family resemblance to the larger Volvo SUVs with tall, wraparound taillights and “Thor’s hammer” LED headlights, but the XC40 also maintains its originality in a shape that fits its small size.
2. Fun Comes Standard
The T5 version comes equipped with a “zippy” 248-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. The eight-speed automatic transmission’s shifts are not always the smoothest, but it’s a small flaw that’s forgivable for the way it easily downshifts when you want more power. It also has standard all-wheel drive that includes hill start assist and hill descent control. The T4 version features a 187-hp, turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder and front-wheel drive.
“Overall,” Meier wrote, “the XC40 is fun to drive — more so than its small SUV peers (at least the versions that haven’t been tricked up (and priced up) by their brands’ performance divisions, such as Mercedes’ AMG.)”
3. Funky Interior Design Still Feels Premium
Volvo leans into Scandinavian design with an Ikea-esque interior that features standard leather seats and an eco-friendly, feltlike material for the door panels and footwells. It’s made from 97 percent recycled water bottles that comes in — among other colors — Lava Orange. Despite the level of urban personality, however, Volvo still manages to maintain that premium feel with creative touches like patterned metal trim.
4. Puts the ‘U’ in ‘SUV’
“One key way Volvo is trying to set the XC40 apart from rivals is with one of the most practical interiors this side of a minivan,” Meier said. On the inside, you get 20.7 cubic feet of space behind the backseat, and that increases to 47.2 cubic feet if you fold the rear seats down. The floor back there can also fold up to create a divider with bag hooks perfect for keeping groceries and other smaller cargo contained. Up front, there’s a place for pretty much everything thanks to a large console bin with a space for a box of tissues, a removable wastebasket for those pesky gum wrappers, and little slots in the door for credit cards and parking passes. All the way down, the XC40 is built with the driver — and the driver’s stuff — in mind.
5. Small SUV, Full-Size Safety
While it comes in a smaller package, the XC40 offers most of the same safety technology as its bigger siblings, the XC60 and XC90. The XC40 earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s highest Top Safety Pick Plus designation for 2019, which includes a superior rating for its frontal crash-prevention system. The standard City Safety system includes low-speed front collision warning and automatic braking with pedestrian, bicycle and animal detection. Optional is Volvo’s Pilot Assist system, which includes rear cross-traffic alert with automatic braking, a 360-degree camera system and a combination of adaptive cruise control with lane-centering steering.
6. It Doesn’t Skimp on Tech, Either
For a premium touch, the XC40 has a 9-inch multimedia touchscreen in the center and a configurable 12.3-inch digital instrument display — both of which come standard, as does Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You can also use your smartphone as a key through the Volvo on Call app. To charge it all, there’s a big device bin up front with 12-volt and USB ports as well as an available wireless charging pad.
More From Cars.com:
- 2019 Volvo XC40, XC60 SUVs Score Well in Crash Tests
- Best of 2019: Nominees
- How Do Car Seats Fit in a 2019 Volvo XC40?
- Which SUVs Have the Best Pedestrian Detection Systems?
- 2018 Nissan Kicks and 2019 Volvo XC40 Are Unlikely Kindred Spirits
Things We Don’t Like
1. Drives Better Than It Sounds
While the XC40 is fun to drive, it’s not necessarily fun to hear. “The engine is a little buzzy when pushed,” Meier said, “and the quiet cabin made it seem even more intrusive.”
2. Backseat Legroom Compromises Front-Seat Comfort
While the front seats are comfortable and come with extendable thigh support, the backseat offers a less-than-pleasant experience. For starters, they don’t recline at all and may sit too vertically for some. The seat cushion is too low and short for good thigh support. Plus, there’s only enough space for adults back there if the people up front compromise a little — though you might expect that from an SUV of this size.
3. You Might Have to Relearn How to Shift
In his First Drive of the XC40, Meier said that there’s a bit of a learning curve when it comes to the electronic shift lever. “I haven’t mastered it yet,” he confessed. “I still have trouble getting it in the right gear at the right time, both using it in manual mode and in trying to get it into Drive when I’m parked.”
Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.
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